Puberty + Interpersonal Relationships + Adjustment

Welcome to the AIR Lab!

We study girls as they pass through important life transitions that have the potential for significantly affecting their psychosocial development. The transitions we examine include the major biological changes of puberty and the social transition into new types of interpersonal relationships. Our research is based on theoretical models that consider the inherent interaction between developing individuals, and their environment, with a focus on how perceptions of pubertal timing amid critical developmental task (e.g., identity development) and social contexts elucidates the socialization experiences of girls during adolescence.

Our research also recognizes that perceptions of pubertal changes are embedded within a system of interpersonal relationships including interactions with peers, parents, and teachers. It is reasoned that these relationships can either facilitate or impede pubertal timing effects on girls’ psychosocial development through the opportunities, norms and expectations, and implicit reward and punishment structures that they provide.

Select Publications

  • Carter, R., & Williams, S. (2016). Self-perceptions of pubertal timing and patterns of peer group activities and dating behavior among heterosexual adolescent girlsJournal of Adolescence, 47, 71-80.
  • Carter, R., Caldwell Howard, C., Matusko, N., & Jackson, J. S. (2015). Heterosexual Romantic Involvement and Depressive Symptoms in Black Adolescent Girls: Effects of Menarche and Perceived Social SupportJournal of Youth and Adolescence. 
  • Carter, R.(2014). Anxiety symptoms in African American youth: The role of puberty and biological sex. Journal of Early Adolescence. doi: 10.1177/0272431614530809.
  • Carter, R., Silverman, W. K., & Jaccard, J. (2013). Race and perceived pubertal transition effects on girls’ depressive symptoms and delinquent behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. doi: 10.1007/s10964-012-9885-1. 
  • Carter, R., Silverman, W. K., & Jaccard, J. (2011). Sex variations in youth anxiety symptoms: Effects of pubertal development and gender role orientation. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40, 730-741. 
  • Carter, R., Caldwell Howard, C., Matusko, N., Antonucci, T., & Jackson, J. S. (2011). Ethnicity, perceived pubertal timing, externalizing behaviors, and depressive symptoms among Black adolescent girls. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. doi: 10.1007/s10964-010-9611-9.